ST 2977 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2977

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2977

A full review by gnomethang

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This puzzle was published on 11th November 2018

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *****

Morning All! This is the review of the final Sunday Prize Puzzle to be set by Brian Greer/Virgilius (in case you missed his post on the day of the puzzle). I found this blog, if I recall correctly, just before he took over from the late Nuala Considine in the Sunday slot so he has been a constant Sunday companion to me in my crossword endeavours and his input will be sadly missed from the Telegraph in my opinion.
This was a classic puzzle of his – some very simple but elegant clues with superb surface readings and all very accessible. There are four clues that I have highlighted that fit the finale theme.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Most of the UN okay changing response in present situation (5,3)
THANK YOU – Make an anagram of most of the word TH( e) and UN OK. The first word of the message in this final Sunday puzzle from Mr Greer.

9a           Deity included in supplication that’s excessive (8)
PLETHORA – The Norse god THOR onside a PLEA or supplication.

10a         Endlessly make health food (4)
BRAN – Remove the end from a BRAN(d) or make/type.

11a         What those in charge do to allow judge to cover offence retrospectively (12)
ADMINISTRATE – Place ADMIT/allow and RATE/judge around the reversal (retrospectively) of SIN or offence.

13a         Unusually clean for someone who works with predator (8)
FALCONER – An anagram (indicated by unusually) of CLEAN FOR.

15a         Pass line entering English part of church (6)
ELAPSE – Place an L for Line inside E(nglish) and an APSE (part of a church).

16a         Call for peace, standing before a hard ruler once (4)
SHAH – A call for peace (in a library, say) is SH! Stand this in front of A from the clue and H for Hard (as in the pencils).

17a         Great heat shown in temperature scale, invariably (5)
FEVER – F for the Fahrenheit temperature scale and EVER for invariably.

18a         Earth, one going round sun? Just the opposite (4)
SOIL – The instruction starts to read that one should go round the sun but just the opposite indicates the reverse is true – place I for one inside SOL for the sun.

20a         Wielder of rod showing irritation about student (6)
ANGLER – ANGER for irritation around L – a Learner driver or student.

21a         Leaves opportunity for rest of the workers, briefly (3,5)
TEA BREAK – The leaves are TEA and an opportunity or chance is a BREAK.

23a         So captain set out for remote base on round-the-world trip (5,7)
SPACE STATION – An anagram (out) of SO CAPTAIN SET.

26a         It would be not for the first time, a profit like this (4)
AGAIN – A and GAIN for profit.

27a         Bearer of terse report from crazy and diabolical situation (8)
NUTSHELL – A charade of NUTS/crazy and HELL – a diabolical situation.

28a         Without exception, people held by police very on edge (8)
EVERYONE – A hidden word HELD by polic E VERY ON E dge. So the first and last across clues read THANK YOU EVERYONE – but thank YOU, Brian.


2d           In mess, card out of order, use this instead? (4,4)
HARD CASH – A mess is a HASH. Pl ace an anagram (out of order) of CARD inside.

3d           Unlike most things sold in bars, like chocolate (3-9)
NON-ALCOHOLIC – A chocolate drink would meet the criteria, being unlike most drinks served in a bar.

4d           Enemy’s scattered — they put up no resistance (3-3)
YES-MEN – A scattered anagram of ENEMY’S.

5d           Supported by leaders of union, picket office next (4)
UPON – The leading letters or leaders of Union Picket Office and Next.

6d           It makes the speaker promise to embrace new ties, for example (8)
The speaker is ME 9in the first person) and to SWEAR is to promise. Place these around (they are embracing) N for New.

7d           On behalf of area, providing places for discussion (4)
FOR A – For meaning ‘on behalf of’ and A for Area. Short and sweet!.

8d           Food and water supplier for so long (8)
FAREWELL – A charade of FARE/food and a WELL/water supplier in another nod to Mr Greer’s final Sunday Prize Puzzle.

12d         Fool you finally call in bank in sympathetic way (12)
REASSURINGLY – Place an ASS/fool, the final letter of (yo)U and RING/call inside RELY or bank.

14d         King I check and prevent from moving (5)
RIVET – R for Rex/king and then I VET (I check).

16d         Small pale child good giving ultimate performance (4,4)
SWAN SONG -The final performance in this series of puzzles. S(mall, WAN/pale, SON/child and finally G for Good.

17d         Supporting wild trees, he takes care of them (8)
FORESTER – Start with FOR/supporting and add a wild anagram of TREES.

19d         Lack of response from independent Conservative dividing people (8)
INACTION – I for Independent then place C for Conservative inside a NATION or people.

22d         Fine service, including baked dish for each person (6)
APIECE – A fine service in tennis is an ACE. Include/add a PIE or baked dish.

24d         It’s a north-facing wine-producing region (4)
ASTI – reverse (being north facing in a down clue) IT’S A.

25d         Showing skill in piece of furniture (apart from first time) (4)
ABLE – The piece of furniture is a TABLE but we need to lose the first T for Time.


Many, many thanks, Brian for all your puzzles here (and elsewhere) – Your Sunday solve (with a pint!) has long been the crossword highlight of my week. I hope that you enjoy the time that you are devoting away from crosswords and I’ll keep an eye out for the ones that you are still setting.


6 comments on “ST 2977

    1. Ditto – when BD suggested that I take over the Sunday blog, at BB8, I was a little concerned as, until 3 or 4 months before, Sundays had been my crossword day of rest and I was not that familiar with Brian’s style. However, from when I started, with ST 2885, solving and hinting 93 puzzles became the most enjoyable part of my Saturday evenings.

      And, thanks to Gnomethang and Cryptic Sue for all their full reviews.

  1. Still finding it hard to believe that we will spend no more Sundays in the company of Mr Greer.
    Many thanks for the reminder of his final message to us, Gnomethang.

  2. My renewed interest in cruciverbalism was mainly due to a subscription that tied me to the Sunday Telegraph as part of the whole week’s subs you effectively got the weekend papers free.Thanks to Mr Greer and Senf’s hints I have been able to complete many more crosswords than ever before. Thanks for your swansong and enjoy the time off. Let’s hope that I get as comfortable with our new Sunday setter soon as so far it has been the day when I have had most enjoyment. Thanks too to gnomethang and CrypticSue for the reviews. I am like many often at the reviews to check my mistakes and rarely comment here. I will do my best to comment on reviews more often 🙄

  3. 2*/3*…
    liked the topical 16D (ultimate performance) and 23A (remote base on round the world trip).
    Thanks to Brian Greer and Gnomethang.

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